Passionate or Angry

March 10, 2010
By Anonymous

The SRHS Rams were hosting the CHHS Cougars. Head Coach for the Rams, Eric M., encouraged his team to play with intensity this particular night because come state tournament time this game would be looked at to see who got the higher seed. As usual, the Ram team listened to what he said, and prepared to play their hardest no matter what happened so they could come out with a victory. The match stared out just like any other, both teams got to warm up on the court then the first game began. SRHS was coming on strong taking a run the first couple of points. Then a Ram player tipped the ball over, it should have been a Ram point but the referee said the Cougar player had “pancake” the ball up. Pancake in volleyball lingo means the player dives for the ball with her hand spread out as if she was high fiving the ground and the ball bounce off the top of her hand. SRHS players and fans were upset by this awful call but did nothing to retaliate. This particular play caused the Cougars to go on a run of their own and take the lead from the Rams. After a couple more plays the Cougars set up a play and their outside hitter tipped the ball over, the Rams could not get the ball up and lost yet another point. Coach Eric M. could not take the bad calls any longer and grabbed the ball from his a play on the bench and threw the ball. His intentions were to hit the wall… but it hit his own player in the side of the face.

Everyone was in utter shock when the ball hit the player. The Ram players that were on the court were startled and froze in disbelief. Coach Eric M. called a time out about 5 seconds after he realized what he had done. The team huddled around there coach, he began to speak but he stuttered “I I I’m sorry, I know I told you guys we had to win, but if we lose its because of me, I’m sorry”. The players right away knew took their coaches apologizes to heart, they could tell how upset he was when he didn’t speak the rest of the game. The players knew that they had to win this game for their coach to bring his spirits up. It was difficult to play a game when their coach just sat on the bench saying nothing because of how upset he was. SRHS came through and won the match in two games. After the game the Eric M. called his girls into the classroom and began to give his apology. He knew that his team was a family, and that his players brought him back up when his mental toughness was down. He gave his deepest apologies to the team and started to choke up. The Rams girls’ volleyball team always loved their coach and this experience only made them closer to him. To the outside it might have looked like an awful situation and made him look like an angry, abusive coach but those that were coached by him or friends with him knew that it was all an accident.

Months had gone by and nothing had been said about the situation. Coach M. and the whole volleyball team had thought everyone had forgotten about what had happened. No one thought it was a big deal because those who were involved in the situation had all received apologies. Everything changed when someone posted a video of Coach M. hitting the girl on the New Jersey Girls Volleyball Forum. The video was also posted on YouTube. Before you knew it everyone was bashing on Maxwell saying rude and insulting comments. People were saying how he should lose his job, be banned from coaching, that he was an abusive person. Everyone that knew Coach M. knew all of those comments were far from the truth. You could ask any player that was a part of his program, he was the best coach any of them had ever had, always pushing them to the next level, inspiring them to become better human beings, taught them to be dedicated and love what they are doing.

Because of the videos popularity with had over 200,000 hits on YouTube it caused many people in the community to know about the situation. The channel 6 Philadelphia news even came to SRHS to interview Coach M. and the superintendent. Everyone in the volleyball community was against Coach M. He would receive hate mail from people he didn’t even know. Many people were saying he was the worst coach. But anyone from SRHS knew he was the best coach. He was always giving his team philosophical speeches or quotes from Tony Dungee. Cutting corners around the gym was one of Coach M’s big rules. As the girls ran around the gym seniors would say “Don’t touch the black!!” Not only did Maxwell say it because he wanted his team to physically run without cutting the corner, but because he taught his kids that if you cut corners in life, you won’t get as far as you can dream. He would always set a high goal for his team, every year he would say “Our goal is to be state champions”. Year after year he never won a state championship, never even to the finals (until the year 2008 and 2009) but still it would always be the team’s goal.

Basically any negative comment that was said about the coach was false. Many people mistake his passion for anger. He has always had a love for the game of volleyball, and anyone that knows him can tell you that. He dedicates two seasons out of the school year coaching volleyball sacrificing time with his family. Anyone who says Coach M. is a bad coach does not know the man. He does anything he can to help his players, and is always giving the team 100% attention. Coach M. is a coach that most will remember forever because of all the life lessons he has taught his player. Everyone from parents to player can vouch for that.

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